I am pretty new here and there is an aspect of the accepted rules that I am not really clear about and would appreciate your opinions.

I have recently posted a few answers using IBM/Lotus Notes Formula Language. The main reason for this is that it interests me in the same way as the Sinclair Spectrum does. Having read through the rules (again) recently I have see that languages/compilers that are not openly available to all members of the community are at the very least discouraged.

My question is twofold.

  1. Should I not post using this language? I have noticed that other posters are posting solutions using various Microsoft products including Excel and Powershell which are also proprietary and so thought it would be OK.

  2. If I do post with LNFL should I specify it as non-competing, mention that it is written in a not freely available language (for anyone who doesn't know) or just post it "as is".

To be honest, LNFL is very unlikely to win any golf challenges (although I did manage a 2 byte answer for one but was beaten by a byte :-)) and the main reason for posting them is just for the challenge of doing it and seeing another language on the list.

btw, I am not a "one trick pony". I have also got upvotes for a couple of Python answers.

Thanks for your opinions.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Note that Mathematica is not free but is used widely on PPCG :) \$\endgroup\$
    – Beta Decay
    Oct 2, 2016 at 10:42
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @BetaDecay Or MATLAB/LabVIEW/BBC BASIC/etc. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 3, 2016 at 12:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Erik BBC BASIC is free to a certain extent, so I wouldn't include that \$\endgroup\$
    – Beta Decay
    Oct 3, 2016 at 16:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ @BetaDecay It's not free, it simply has a free trial. Also, why is everyone starting to call me @Erik? I don't want codegolf on my name, please (except for really long comments). \$\endgroup\$ Oct 3, 2016 at 16:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks guys. I wasn't trying to start an argument about what is free and what is not. I was just trying to clarify my position as someone who posts sometimes in a paid-for language. I think @Dennis has answered that. Thanks for your feedback. \$\endgroup\$
    – ElPedro
    Oct 3, 2016 at 18:51
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @BetaDecay It actually is free now. Wolfram Programming Lab - click "Create a New Notebook" at the bottom. \$\endgroup\$
    – mbomb007
    Oct 3, 2016 at 20:44
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @ElPedro I understand, that, I was just correcting Erik so that future users will know some examples of paid-for languages \$\endgroup\$
    – Beta Decay
    Oct 4, 2016 at 16:52

1 Answer 1


I assume you're talking about this loophole:

Using a non-free language on a Cops and Robbers challenge


An important implicit condition of such a challenge is that it is possible for the robbers to try out many variants of the code to find the true solution. While a cop submission where this is impossible would ostensibly do well, it is not in the spirit of the challenge, and is in fact a loophole.

Therefore, pay-for-use languages are banned as a loophole.

This prohibition only applies to challenges, where it is important that the robbers have access to the same tools the cop uses.

In all other kinds of challenges, such as plain , there is no such requirement, and you're free to use any proprietary/paid-for language you like.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks Dennis. I guess that clarifies it. I was thinking that the rule applied to all challenges. Guess I was @False :-) \$\endgroup\$
    – ElPedro
    Sep 30, 2016 at 21:51

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